News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports Columns

August 12, 2008

Trackside: Meet Kenny James, Valley’s best-kept racing secret

TERRE HAUTE — An impressive list of credentials has earned him the title as the winningest driver in Wabash Valley Fairgrounds racing history, yet he probably remains one of the best-kept secrets on the area motorsports scene.

He is Kenny James, the undisputed king of National Hod Rod Association Pro racing at Action City Dragway USA.

Like the many NHRA ET bracket racers who compete weekly at the one-eighth-mile strip, James runs in the shadows of the more publicized oval-track racers at the Terre Haute Action Track.

Racing in near obscurity for almost five decades has never been an issue for a guy who admittedly prefers staying out of the limelight.

James’ trademark floppy hat and aging ‘68 Camaro have long presented a deceiving image over the years.

The Camaro, which appears more destined for the salvage yard than another winning pass at ACD, is often the subject of good-natured ribbing by the competition.

It’s the same machine that has consistently over the years sent the non-believers to an early trip to the trailer.

Since his early days dating back to the 1960s, James has approached drag racing from a different perspective than his rivals.

While winning is nice, James says, it’s just a small part of the overall picture of bracket racing.

“It’s more about camaraderie and having a good time,” James said of his countless visits to the dragstrip. He says his racing is not only the simplest form of drag racing but also the most competitive.

“You can have a $50,000 car, a $100,000 car. You can race your van. You can race what you drove down here and have a chance to win if you cut a light and run what your dialing is on the window. It’s that’s simple,” explained James.

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Sports Columns
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